He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord , is this not what I said when I was still in my country? That is why I ran to Tarshish, because I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and great in lovingkindness, and [when sinners turn to You] You revoke the [sentence of] disaster [against them].
Jonah 4:2 AMP
My daughter loves to create things; she’s continually drawing, constructing, and crafting. And I have several bins of samples to prove her artistic ingenuity. Yes, lots of bins. Why? Because my daughter can’t bear to part with her creations. After all, each is an extension of her heart and soul.
Now, I must confess, it is not my desire to save everything she’s done; I’d prefer to relocate many of them to a trash can. Yet each time I suggest removing a project from a bin or the art room to the garbage, my daughter reminds me of its importance to her. What may look like something simple and unimportant often has special meaning to her.
So we have bins. And we have a basement. And I rest in the knowledge that one day all those bins will be hers to go through and to do with as she pleases.
Now I share this story because God brought it to mind as I read Jonah the other day. If you are not familiar with the story of Jonah, God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and convey a message to the city. Initially, however, Jonah fled from God’s presence. He went in the completely opposite direction. And it is not until the end of the story that we read his reason why: he knew God was gracious. Yes, the reason Jonah fled was he knew God was good. He knew God was compassionate God. He knew that if he told Nineveh the message that Nineveh might repent. And he knew that if Nineveh repented, then God would relent–that God would choose not to destroy the city.
Jonah wanted God to destroy the city because they didn’t know God. God wanted Jonah to to warn the city so that the city could know Him.
Why? Because God loved that city. God made with his own hands each individual and each animal in that city. God never wanted to destroy his creation; he wanted to save it. God knew each of the 120,000 people in Nineveh by name, and He longed for them to know Him.
Jonah may not have been pleased with the repentance of Nineveh, but God was. God rejoiced over their salvation. God rejoices over every salvation.
We must remember, God does not want to destroy His creation. God loves His creation. He loves every one of us. In fact, “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17 AMP).
We’ve all sinned. We all fall short of God’s glory. Yes, all. None of us is perfect. God reminds us in His Word none of us is righteous; not one (Romans 3:10-12). This why God sent Jesus. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost–all the lost, not just the ones we like. That one who cut you off. The one who rejected you. The one who hurt you. Jesus loves them, because God created them.
So if everyone is God’s creation, then everyone deserves a chance to choose Jesus.
Therefore, I encourage you today to join me in viewing each person we meet through the eyes of God. Let’s view that neighbor as God’s masterpiece. Let’s view that child as God’s handiwork. Let’s view each individual with the knowledge that the One who created and who loves each of us created and loves each of them as well. For if we do–if we see each person we meet as one of God’s children–we will not run from opportunities to share Jesus; we will embrace them.
As God’s creation, it is not our choice to save; it’s God’s. And if God’s not willing for any to perish–if God longs for each one of His creations to repent and to turn from their wicked ways–then we should not be afraid to share nor choose not to share.
Join me in sharing Jesus today–sharing Jesus with everyone. Let’s choose to follow God’s lead. For as we do–as we refuse to allow personal differences to affect the message God called each of us to deliver– we will witness God’s transforming power. We will see hearts of stone become hearts of flesh. And you never know, some of us might even witness our greatest enemy become our closest ally. Why? Because “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).